Vanilla Mousse With Spring Rhubarb in its own pink syrup
Vanilla mousse 3 eggs
110g/4oz caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 dsps crème fraîche
150ml/¼pt whipping cream, stiffly beaten Rhubarb compote 450g/1lb pink rhubarb
50g/2oz caster sugar
150ml/¼ pt water
¼ tsp cardamom seeds, crushed
Although a little paler in colour than it is in midsummer, there is nothing that beats the flavour of the first stalks of rhubarb in spring. Serves six.
1 For the vanilla mousse: Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl. Now place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and continue to whisk. This will cook the eggs gently and the mixture will lose the 'eggy' flavour.
2Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and beat well until it doubles in volume. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly, then set to one side to cool.
3When the mixture has cooled, add the mascarpone, crème fraîche and whipped cream. Mix gently and transfer to lightly greased individual moulds, then cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for approximately two-three hours, until set.
To serve the mousse, place the moulds in a basin of warm water for 30 seconds, then turn them upside down on to your serving plate and the moulds should come away easily. Be gentle!
4For the rhubarb compote: Wash the rhubarb, dry and cut into lengths 3-4cm long. Place the sugar and water in a large shallow pan, bring to the boil and dissolve the sugar.
5Add the rhubarb stalks and cardamom seeds, then poach gently for three to four minutes. Do not overcook.
Serve the compote warm or cold with the vanilla mousse.